Paramount // 1984 // 1450 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // July 27th, 2011
I love the '80s.
Season Five of ABC's epic primetime soap is here and what a deliriously awesome examination of over-the-top materialism and eyeliner. Dynasty follows the serpentine storylines of the Carrington family, headed by suave patriarch Blake Carrington (John Forsythe, Charlie's Angels). Flush with oil money, they are one of the wealthiest, most prolific families in Colorado and are not ashamed to flaunt their considerable means, whether it's by showing up everywhere in limos, wearing diamond earrings the size of baby sea lions or lounging around the mansion in testicle-hugging tennis shorts.
Having such cash and influence at their disposal guarantees the Carringtons will be wrapped up in all manner of salaciousness and this season does not disappoint. From baby abductions, to mysterious disappearances, infidelity on a farm, a murder trial, the shocking verdict of a murder trial, the shocking aftermath of the shocking verdict of a murder trial, and, eventually, a royal wedding featuring one of the all-time greatest single season cliffhangers in television history -- Dynasty will suck in anyone like me who finds himself utterly enamored by this genre.
Man, I don't know what it is, but there's something about primetime soaps from the 1980s that transfix me. Especially soaps about filthy rich families. I don't think it's necessarily the plots, which, lets be honest. are all derivations of the same handful of storylines. I'm going to have to go with the time capsule theory. Watching Dynasty is like gazing out at the rusted hull of the Titanic in a submarine. You're seeing a record of a time that was awash in glitz and tragedy, which really didn't happen that long ago, yet it feels like forever ago.
So many cultural oddities to paw through in this mega-set:
Joan Collins walking around in shoulder pads a middle linebacker would find too cumbersome.
Jack Coleman (HRG of Heroes) proudly displaying his hairy inner thighs and bleached blonde dome during casual exposition.
A young and nubile Heather Locklear (T.J. Hooker) being all young and nubile.
Linda Evans (The Big Valley) sporting all manner of outfits that would get her soaked with red paint from PETA.
Billy Dee Williams' (Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back) endless hot tub trysts.
As much fun as the pointing and laughing at archaic fashion sense and navigating through the multiple branching soap storylines can be, the very, very best part of this entire release is that final episode. Knowing what I know now, the cliffhanger certainly loses some of its juice but I can only imagine what it must have been like to experience this sucker live.
I am of course talking about the infamous Moldavian Massacre, which (SPOILER) found a group of terrorist commandos (!) crashing the royal wedding and gunning down everyone in the church (!!) with the very last scene being a silent pan of a pile of non-moving, bloody bodies (!!!). 24, eat your heart out.
Standard-issue, no-frills release: full frame, mono audio, and one fleeting extra of an old-school Entertainment Tonight interview with Rock Hudson about his guest role on the show.
Not Guilty. Viva Reaganomics!
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 1450 Minutes
Release Year: 1984
MPAA Rating: Not Rated